Friday, March 21, 2008

Signs - of the times we live in

Three singular, independent bits of news on health (and hubris), economy (and chicanery) and sex (in public lives) makes one reflect...

- My wife and I take our children to the pediatrician for their vaccinations - whether out of feelings of common good (childhood vaccinations are supposed to prevent societal outbreaks of measles, mumps, smallpox among others) or individual well being (to keep our children healthy and immune to any of the above dire sounding diseases).
News reports suggest a growing tribe of American parents who refuse to vaccinate their children pointing to dubious studies and claims that vaccination has no proven advantages for children in the modern world and reports that link vaccinations with neurological disorders. Twenty states, including California, Ohio and Texas, allow a personal exemption - that is parents can opt out of vaccinating their children. A statement by the mother of a six year old in San Diego summed up the collective hubris succinctly: “I refuse to sacrifice my children for the greater good” while she also agrees that “I cannot deny that my child can put someone else at risk”. More here.

- I still have not got over the bailout of our nations fifth largest investment bank (Bear Sterns) orchestrated by another Wall Street bank backed by a only too eager Fed with the ostensible reason that this single action was done for the greater economic good (while it was revealed a couple of days back that the whole thing started off as a whisper campaign which fed on the news that Bear was illiquid). Today’s editorial in the Times puts it perfectly.
Compared to the cold shoulder given to struggling homeowners, the cash and attention lavished by the government on the nation’s financial titans provides telling insight into the priorities of the Bush administration. It’s not simply a matter of fairness, though. If the objective is to encourage prudent banking and keep Wall Street’s wizards from periodically driving financial markets over the cliff, it is imperative to devise a remuneration system for bankers that put more of their skin in the game. More here.

- We live in oversexed times - take a look of the governorships of New York and New Jersey and you will know what I am referring to... While the brouhaha over Spitzer is reaching the back pages of most newspapers, reports of McGreevey threesomes and Paterson's past affairs keep the prurience on the front pages on a daily basis. An op-ed piece in today's Times has given us some alphabet soup to fortify our slicing and dissection of the psychological underpinnings of carnal needs, casual flings and cavalier lays with the air of an expert:

1. In the parlance of American couples recovering from adultery, “D-Day” is the day you discover your spouse has been cheating on you. And as with the birth of Jesus, time is reset from there.
2. X.O.W. is the “ex-other woman"
3. O.N.S. is a “one-night stand”
4. N.P.D. is the often diagnosed “narcissistic personality disorder”
5. A “cake man” is a husband who wants to have his wife and his mistress, too.
6. ‘Pinching the cat in the dark’ is a phrase employed by the Dutch when they find out that their partners have been shoring up their extra curricular activities in the libido department.

Article here.

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